All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
2 Thessalonians 1:5
The Full Story
Things aren’t always what they seem. The Antiques Roadshow proves it.
If you’ve ever watched that show, you’ll know that people often bring an item that looks like junk for appraisal. I wouldn’t give them a dime for it, but the expert tells the owner, “You could expect to fetch at least $20,000 for this at auction.”
Often these appraisals are not based on the intrinsic value of the object itself. No one needs a $20,000 flower vase! Instead, the value is found in the object’s story: Where and when it was made, who owned it, etc. In order to know something’s value, you need to know the story behind it.
That’s also true when it comes to God’s judgment. People are tempted to make snap judgments about his judgment. They conclude his judgment is unfair, unloving, and unconcerned for those who stand under it. But they don’t know the full story.
Consider a comparison from everyday life. When a concerned father promises to punish his son if he does something dangerous, it has nothing to do with craving revenge. The father takes no joy in the thought of having to hand down punishment. Instead, his words proceed from a loving heart. On the outside, he may seem unfair, unloving, and unconcerned. But that’s because you don’t know the full story. The father loves his son and wants to keep him safe.
So it is with God’s judgment—even his promise of eternal punishment—springs from a heart of love and concern for sinners. He wants to get our attention because, the truth is, he also “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He sent his Son to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He desires mercy, not sacrifice (Matthew 9:13). In his heart of hearts, he is our loving Savior, not a cold-hearted judge. And that is the full story.
Jesus, help me recognize your love even in your judgment. Amen.
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